343. Memorandum of Telephone Conversation Between President Johnson and Acting Secretary of State Ball 1

Ball said that the situation in Stanleyville is deteriorating rapidly. Reports indicate whatever responsible leaders were there are fleeing. The decision we have to make is whether we move planes from Ascension to Kamina, where they would be four hours away from Stanleyville. Spaak wants to do it. It was delayed last night because we were concerned about creating hysteria before we were prepared to have the paratroops drop over Stanleyville. This morning we are in agreement we ought to do that. Averell, Vance, Ball and Wheeler all agree this does not mean the decision to use paratroops but to move them up within four hours to Stanleyville. Our position regarding the Congolese government is we have an oral request to do this from Tshombe, but they’re sitting on the written request in Stanleyville. There would be a few things to sweep up if this is done. Ball has talked to the Secretary, who is in agreement.

President asked Ball to touch base with McNamara. If he agrees, go ahead.

  1. Source: Johnson Library, Ball Papers, Congo III, 11/7/64–3/17/66. No classification marking. Prepared by Velma Heine of Ball’s staff. Ball was in Washington; President Johnson was in Texas.